Application deadlines

Application deadline in England, Scotland and Wales

In England, Scotland and Wales, the deadline to apply for a postal vote in the UK Parliamentary general election on 12 December 2019 is 5pm on 26 November.

Application deadline in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the deadline to apply for a postal vote in the UK Parliamentary general election on 12 December 2019 is 5pm on 21 November.

Overview

Make sure you're registered

To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote.

Find out if you're eligible to register and how to apply

Apply for a postal vote in England, Scotland or Wales

To apply to vote by post in England, Scotland or Wales, you need to download, print and fill in the postal vote application form.

You can apply for a particular election or referendum, for a specific time period, or for a permanent postal vote.

Once you have completed the form and made sure you have signed it, you need to send it to the electoral services team at your local council.

You can send your form by post. The electoral services team at your local council may also accept a scanned copy of your form by email, but you should check with them first.

If you're not sure if you already have a postal vote, contact the electoral services team at your local council to find out.

You will need to complete a new postal vote application if you have moved house.

Overseas voters

If you're an overseas voter, you will need to include the address where you were last registered to vote in the UK on the form. There is a section for your correspondence address. You can include your overseas address in this section.

Ask the electoral services team at your local council for help

If you're unable to print the application form or need it in an accessible format, contact the electoral services team at your local council for help.

Apply for a postal vote in Northern Ireland

If you're registered to vote in Northern Ireland, you must provide a valid reason as to why you can't attend your polling station in person.

This could be because of:

  • illness
  • disability
  • holiday
  • work arrangements

In certain circumstances, you can also apply for an indefinite postal vote. You can do this at any time of year.

Download the absent vote form and find out more from the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

If you registered to vote online, you'll need to provide your Digital Registration Number (DRN) on your application for a postal vote. 

If you're not sure if you already have a postal vote, contact the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland to find out.

When you will receive your ballot paper

After the deadline to become a candidate has passed (approximately three weeks before polling day), ballot papers are produced and printed. Yours will then be sent to you, in your postal voting pack.

Once you receive your postal voting pack, make sure to keep it somewhere safe. Don't let anyone else handle it, and avoid leaving it where someone else could pick it up.

British citizens overseas

British citizens overseas

If you're living outside the UK, be aware that overseas postal services may take much longer than posting within the UK.

Find out more about voting as a British citizen overseas

Completing your ballot paper

Read the instructions carefully

Read the ballot paper carefully. Different elections might use different electoral systems, so it's important to make sure you know how to fill it in correctly. Some elections ask for one cross in one box, and others might ask you to rank candidates with numbers. 

Complete the ballot paper

Complete the ballot paper in line with the instructions. Make sure you do it alone and in secret.

Make sure it's signed and sealed

Once you've completed your ballot paper, put it in the smaller envelope and seal it up. Next, complete and sign the postal voting statement, and put everything inside the big envelope and seal it all up.

Keep it somewhere safe until you're ready to post it.

If you lose your ballot paper or fill it in incorrectly

If you lose your ballot paper or fill it in incorrectly

You can get a replacement ballot paper in person from your Returning Officer at your local electoral registration office up until 5pm on polling day.

Returning your postal vote

When you're ready to return your postal vote, take it to the postbox yourself.

If you can't post it yourself, you can either ask someone you know and trust to post it for you, or you can contact your local authority to ask if they can collect it from you.

Avoid asking a candidate or party worker to post it for you.

Your postal vote needs to be with your local authority by 10pm on polling day to be counted.

If you can't post your postal vote pack in time, you can take it your polling station or to your local authority on polling day.

Voting in person

If you have a postal vote, you can't vote in person on polling day.

You can take your postal voting pack to your polling station on polling day if you want to though.

Contact your local authority if you want to cancel your postal vote.

Why you need to give your date of birth and signature to get a postal vote

Last updated: 14 November 2019
Next review: 11 September 2020